I started blogging as a way to earn more money as a freelance writer. I continued blogging and eventually got into social media because of the people and community. As bloggers and community managers we often talk about our loyal communities, but is this always the case? We don’t have the same readers from year to year, and some people in the blogosphere only stay true to the folks who can do the most for them. For others, their loyalty is measured by follower counts and Klout ranking.
I think many of us in the blogosphere are rather transient with our loyalty.
I can tell you that:
- Many of the blogs I read back in the day aren’t on my list anymore.
- Many of the superstars I followed back in the day aren’t only my list anymore.
- Many of my own ideas have changed.
- The people I work for and projects I take on have changed.
Is this disloyalty? I think sometimes, it depends on the circumstances.People’s tastes change, both online and off. We often change our opinions, in reading material and in friends, so I don’t know that it’s disloyal to not follow a blog anymore. However, I believe if you are a member of a blog’s community, don’t feel it anymore, and start trashing the blog or blogger on Twitter, perhaps there’s disloyalty involved. (And remember, respectful disagreement doesn’t equal trash talking.)
It’s the same way with friends. If I’m friends with someone for 20 years but we grow apart through that’s normal, especially if we have families and move away from each other. I can be loyal and be apart. If I talk about said friend behind her back or tell her secrets to others, I’m not a loyal friend.
When you’re loyal, you have someone’s back. Always.
- I am loyal to my family whether I agree with them or not because they’re my family and will always have that respect. There are times when we argue and there are times when I think they’re silly, but they’re my family and unless they do something truly awful I will always be loyal to them.
- I am loyal to my place of employment because they took a chance on me and hired me and I believe in what they do. If there comes a time that I can’t remain loyal to them, if I have to choose other businesses or ideas over them, it will be time for me to move on. I don’t believe we can be truly happy working for someone who we can’t offer our loyalty, and I don’t believe it’s fair to them not to have our loyalty.
- I am loyal to the people I work with because they are great people. They share their ideas and ask for my opinion. They listen to my ideas and encourage me to act on them. They don’t micromanage, but they offer guidance when needed. They trust me and treat me like a grownup. Thus they have my loyalty. When I’m working for them I look out for their best interests.
- I am loyal to my readers because without them, there would be no me. Without them, I would be writing for no one. They respectfully call me out when I’m wrong and let me know when I’ve done something right. They defend my honor and know I have their backs in return. They know we can disagree and still respect each other.
- I’m loyal to my online friends because they’re always there with a smile and good conversation. We share ideas and tips and even a joke or two. If we disagree we take it private, work it out, and don’t announce it on Twitter.
- I’m loyal to my offline friends because it takes a good friend to be a good friend. We share our secrets and take care of each other kids. We watch each others homes and enjoy each others company.
I think it’s possible to cultivate important online relationships. However, I don’t know that I believe that every one of our online friends are loyal to us or our cause. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as interests change – and so do loyalties.
Is a blog’s community one that is truly loyal? How many blogs have readers that stick around and have their back throughout the years? How many bloggers expect a loyal community but don’t take the time visit their community member’s blogs in return? Are we only loyal to those who suit our agendas?
I don’t know that I have the answer to this one, but I do believe it be worthy of further exploration. What makes an online friend or member of one’s online community loyal or disloyal?